Fw: CA Voting Tech on PBS Newshour tonight; transcript of CNN interview

From: Alan Dechert <adechert_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Tue Sep 16 2003 - 12:01:42 CDT

Dill and Alexander are very familiar with our project. At some point, I
would expect them to point out our project in situations like this but I
don't think they will until we have at least the demo ready to show.

Alan D.

----- Original Message -----
From: <CVF-NEWS_at_lists_dot_calvoter_dot_org>
To: "CVF-NEWS" <CVF-NEWS@lists.calvoter.org>
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2003 3:29 PM
Subject: CA Voting Tech on PBS Newshour tonight; transcript of CNN interview

> Hi Folks,
> Tonight on PBS, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer will take a look at
> election security issues with a focus on California. I was
> interviewed for this segment, as were several other Californians
> involved with the election security debate. I hope you can tune in
> -- check your local listings for air times.
> Over the weekend, Stanford computer science professor David Dill and I
> both appeared on the CNN program, "Next @ CNN". Below is a
> transcript from the show.
> -- Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation
> -------------------
> September 13, 2003 Saturday
> FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: More stories at thing be top of
> the hour. Now back to NEXT@CNN.
> After the disaster of all those hanging chads and butterfly balance
> during the 2000 presidential election, a lot of states and the
> federal government moved fast to try to fix it. But could the fix
> make the problem worse? Technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg is
> back with more on the possibilities and the problems of electronic
> voting -- Dan.
> Yeah, the global embarrassment, shall we say, of the 2000 U.S.
> presidential election got a lot of politicians looking for something
> new, something better. But, exactly where should technology fit into
> that picture? Well, the upcoming California recall election has put
> electronic voting in the spotlight, again.
> And, joining me now is Professor David Dill from Stanford
> University, a computer scientist who's been studying electronic
> voting, and in Sacramento Kim Alexander, president of the nonprofit
> nonpartisan California Voter Organization.
> David, I'd like to start with you, if I could. First of all, do you
> believe that electronic voting, and we're talking about touch
> screens, here. Do you think that they're capable of handling the
> California recall election at this point? What are the potential
> pitfalls involved?
> DAVID DILL, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: Well, I think the worst pitfall is
> that everything appears to go totally smoothly, but we don't know
> whether the votes coming out of the machines match what went into
> the machines.
> SIEBERG: OK, let's talk a little bit in general, first of all, these
> machines are a touch screen machine, you go up there and select the
> candidates. There are a number of different types of technologies
> that are being used; there are 135 candidates on the ballot. First
> of all, can this technology even handle that number of candidates?
> DILL: I'm not sure. It's got to be difficult for a voter. They're
> going to have to page through all of those candidates and find their
> chosen person in the middle of a list that's been basically randomly
> ordered. So, that can't be too easy. But, there are going to be
> problems even with paper ballots, that's know not my biggest
> concern, here.
> SIEBERG: All right, Kim, we're seeing some images of people who have
> been voting in the past. What has voter response been to electronic
> voting or this type of technology? Have people been positive about
> it, the average voter out there?
> KIM ALEXANDER, CALIF. VOTER FOUNDATION: We really don't know. There
> haven't been comprehensive polls that have been done across the
> nation. The only poll I've seen was done in Georgia, following the
> 2002 presidential election, when that state went all touch screen
> and that poll, done by Peach State Poll found a significant racial
> disparity in voter confidence between black voters and white voters.
> So, I'm not at all confident that voters are confident that these
> machines are going to work in a way that will store their ballots
> properly.
> SIEBERG: Now, we've also been hearing about security concerns, most
> recently a couple of university researchers found what they believe
> were holes in the code that helped to operate these machines. Why
> does it seem like -- and odd too, this is to either of you -- why
> does seem like so many politicians and county officials are so eager
> to adopt this technology?
> DILL: Well, the technology has some advantages.
> ALEXANDER Well, I...
> DILL: So they're not talking to computer scientists enough, I think
> is my quick answer. I'll let Kim take it from there.
> ALEXANDER: One of the reasons why the machines are popular with
> election officials is because they are being sold to them by the
> vendors on the promise that they're paperless and that these
> election officials won't need to store paper ballots anymore. But,
> you know, at the end of the day, I can't think of anything more
> important for our election departments to do than to protect our
> paper ballots. So, what my group, the California Voter Foundation
> and others, are calling for is a voter verified paper trail to back
> up the ballots and if we had that, we would be able to address most
> of the risks associated with computerized voting.
> SIEBERG: OK now, we talked -- I touched on earlier how there are
> some different technologies being used throughout California. I
> believe we have a graphic that will help to illustrate just how many
> different counties there are and how many different ones --
> different types of technology. We see here that there is the Data
> Vote, Optical Scan, Punch Card and Touch Screen. Does this make it
> more difficult to try and tabulate all of this? Should there be a
> streamlined way of handling all the votes, whether in California or
> anywhere else, and would technology help that? David, can you answer
> that question?
> DILL: I'm not sure that we need a uniform standard across the state
> voting equipment. What my biggest concern is is that we not adopt
> unsafe voting equipment, and I consider the touch screen machines
> that are now being considered, and that have been purchased in some
> places, as just not being sufficiently trustworthy for the important
> task of handling our elections.
> SIEBERG: Is there a way between now and the California recall
> election to assuage everybody's concerns or are we sort of on the
> path to that and we're just going to have to see what happens after
> the election results? Kim, can you answer that question?
> ALEXANDER: Yes, one thing that the four counties that are using
> touch screens for the recall, which is Alameda, Plumas, Riverside,
> and Shasta one thing that they could do is to print out paper ballot
> images of every digital ballot cast and make those available to the
> public if there is a need for a recount. That's something that
> voters thought they were getting when they passed the Prop 41
> Modernization Bond Act in March, 2002, and the counties aren't doing
> it, and I think if we had, at a minimum, these paper ballot images,
> that would help address some of the risks. Ideally those paper
> ballot images would not be printed at the end of the voting day, but
> they would be printed at the time the voter votes because the voter
> is the only person who knows for sure how they intend to vote, so
> those paper ballot images should be produced at the polling places,
> they should stay at the polling places and we can use those to
> conduct a recount if necessary.
> SIEBERG: And of course, many people just -- most people just don't
> get a chance to vote very often, so they're obviously not practicing
> using any of these touch screen machines.
> David, let's talk a little bit, though, about the security of the
> code again, one more time. The companies that make these different
> machines say it's proprietary, they cannot allow anyone to look at
> the code and see just how secure that it is. What can be done about
> that? Should there be more of an oversight on this code and the
> making of these machines?
> DILL: Well, absolutely, there needs to be more oversight. The
> current situation -- the current process for approving these things
> and designing them is obviously full of holes. The researchers you
> mentioned earlier proved that by looking at code that was
> accidentally released by one of the largest vendors of voting
> machines. Beyond that, the solution that Kim suggests is really the
> one that I prefer. Instead of focusing on trying make the machines
> more bullet-proof, let's just have a backup mechanism where voters
> can say check their votes were properly recorded and then if we have
> a manual recount, we can be guaranteed it's meaningful, because it's
> counting the ballots the voters themselves have checked for accuracy.
> SIEBERG: All right, well, let's end on a positive note. We only got
> about 20 to 30 seconds left. Kim, touch screen voting and
> technology -- you know, it was intended to solve some problems and
> make life a little easier, giving disabled people a chance to vote
> easier. What are some of the positive notes we can talk about with
> touch screen or technology voting?
> ALEXANDER: There are a lot of positives, and I actually would prefer
> myself to vote on a computer interface than on a paper ballot that
> I've been using -- the punch card, because I think it is more user-
> friendly. We can do ballots in multiple languages; we can give
> disabled people the ability to cast a secret ballot without
> assistance and those are all things we can do. So, just to be clear,
> I'm not opposed to touch screen voting. I just want to see it
> implemented responsibility so everybody can have confidence in the
> outcome elections and our voting ballots can be actually transparent
> to everyone.
> SIEBERG: Kim Alexander, the president of the nonprofit nonpartisan
> California Voter Foundation and David Dill, a computer scientist at
> Stanford University.
> Thank you both for joining us today.
> DILL: Thank you.
> ALEXANDER: Thank you.
> --
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Kim Alexander, President, California Voter Foundation
> kimalex@calvoter.org, 916-441-2494, http://www.calvoter.org
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Received on Tue Sep 30 23:17:06 2003

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